Churchyard Rules




1.          GENERAL

1.1 These Rules apply to the churchyard of the Parish of Oldland. They were formally adopted by the PCC on 13th March 2017 and remain effective until revoked. A plan of the churchyard is at Annex 1.

1.2 These Rules are subject to any Diocesan Faculties, Orders or Regulations (whether particular or general) that may be made or issued from time to time by the Chancellor of the Consistory Court of the Diocese.  The rules are believed to include all the requirements of the Chancellor's Churchyard Regulations (Reference 1) but where there is doubt the latter will apply.

1.3 A copy of these Rules will be made available by the Incumbent or a churchwarden to any person requesting them.  

1.4 Copies of these Rules will be sent to local monumental masons, undertakers and others who become involved in burials (coffins or ashes) or supply or ordering of memorials, indicating the need to obtain written consent from the incumbent/priest-in-charge before any monument is commissioned. They will also be requested to inform family members of the relevant parts of the regulations.


2.1 The appropriate permission must be obtained for the introduction of any monument or memorial. Any application must be made in writing to the incumbent in the first instance, with a full description of the proposed work using the form proscribed by the diocese (see Reference 5).    Until the appropriate permission for any tombstone or other monument has been obtained, no estimate should be accepted and no contract entered into with a funeral director or stonemason.

2.2 Powers to permit a monument are as follows:

1     THE INCUMBENT has powers delegated by the Chancellor which allow him/her to give permission for a monument provided that it complies with certain fixed criteria. (Full details of these criteria are listed below).  

2     CHURCHWARDENS or during a vacancy SEQUESTRATORS have no power to permit the introduction of any tombstone or monument into a churchyard. During a vacancy the Archdeacon, unless the Bishop rules otherwise, may exercise the Chancellor’s delegated powers.

3     THE CHANCELLOR has power to allow by faculty the introduction of any kind of tombstone or other monument into a churchyard.   A statutory fee will be payable for the faculty.  Fuller details and application forms can be obtained from the Diocesan Registry.

2.3 If any tombstone or other monument is introduced into the churchyard without the written consent of the incumbent or a faculty granted by the Chancellor, whichever is applicable, those responsible may be required to remove the item and pay the costs of both its removal and the legal proceedings.


3.1 A minimum period of six months should elapse between the death of the person to be commemorated and the approval of the monument by the incumbent. The incumbent then has discretion to allow a monument to be erected at the place where the body of the person to be commemorated is buried without a faculty provided that the criteria listed in the Chancellor's Churchyard Regulations (see Reference 1) are met.

These criteria cover materials, form, advertisements or trademarks, bases, and spacing.    Only monuments that conform to all of these requirements can be permitted by the incumbent. For example, statuary or monuments depicting images or including kerbs (with or without chippings), railings or chains are excluded.   Marble, synthetic stone, polished granite, and granite in colours apart from grey are excluded.  A sunken slab at the head of the grave to allow the free passage of mowers over the top of the the preferred type of memorial but a single memorial no more than 4ft tall in line with the head of the grave may also be permitted.

3.2 A monument which falls outside these criteria can be erected only with the Chancellor's permission.  A faculty will be necessary and statutory fees will payable by the person(s) requesting the monument.

3.3 Where an additional burial has taken place in an existing grave the addition of a further inscription, which complies with the regulations and which is consistent with the style and language of the original inscription may be authorised by the incumbent. A memorial less than 50 years old may be removed from the churchyard for a maximum period of 3 months for this work to be completed if approved by the incumbent. A memorial greater than 50 years old may only be removed with the authority of a faculty.

3.4 In addition the surface of the graveyard shall be kept level and free of grave mounds. Churchwardens may have a grave levelled at any time more than 12 months after the last internment in that grave. Unless graves are kept tidy the PCC may treat the grave as part of the general grass area and mow over them.


4.1 An area for the burial of cremated remains has been created in the churchyard.  This has been named the ‘Garden of Remembrance’. The rules concerning this area and the placing of plaques, solely for those whose ashes are buried in the Garden of Remembrance, on the adjacent memorial wall are set out in Reference 2 and included as Annex 2 to this document.

4.2 This area has to be used and maintained according to the Chancellor's Churchyard Regulations, the agreements in the faculty granted for its establishment (Reference 2). The regulations related to flowers are repeated in section 5 below.

4.3 In accordance with these rules, ashes are accepted into the Garden on the basis that the original certificate of cremation is provided and will be retained within the churchyard records.


5.1 Except where the design of a headstone includes an integral vessel for plants or cut flowers, flowers may only be placed in a removable container, which must be sunk completely into the ground so that it is practically invisible.    Wreaths and cut flowers may be placed in such containers or laid on any grave, but must be removed as soon as they appear to be withered or dead. (Persons responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of the churchyard will, if necessary, remove them.) Jam jars and similar glass containers are expressly forbidden since they are highly dangerous in the event of being hit by mowers or strimmers.

5.2 Artificial flowers should not be used in any part of the churchyard, including the Garden of Remembrance. The PCC may, at its discretion, remove at any time and dispose of any artificial flowers placed in the churchyard. An exception will be allowed where immediately following a burial in a grave artificial flowers are used or where silk flowers are used. In both these instances such flowers will be removed when they fade or after 3 months, whichever is the earliest.

5.3 Bulbs and small annual plants may be planted in the soil of any grave. The planting of annual plants in other areas is to be agreed by the incumbent but bulbs and plants are not permitted at any time in the Garden of Remembrance. (Note: bulbs and plants already in existence in the Garden of Remembrance will be mowed over at the start of the grass cutting season).

5.4 These rules apply to all graves in the churchyard including the Commonwealth War Graves Commission graves.

5.5 Cards, ornaments or other mementos should not normally be placed anywhere in the churchyard. An exception for a small card may be allowed to commemorate a special anniversary or Christmas but such cards should be removed after 1 month. Following the burial of a child a small toy or ornament may be left on the burial site but this should be removed after 12 months.

6.         TREES

6.1 There are a large number of trees in the churchyard and these are subject to the rules for tree maintenance/removal as set out in the guidance issued by Bristol Diocese and the Chancellor of the diocese (see References 1 and 3). In addition a Tree Preservation Order imposed by South Gloucestershire Council covers some of the trees. These are shown on the plan at Reference 4 and Annex 3. Work to trees covered by a TPO will require approval from the council as well as from the Archdeacon or Chancellor.


7.1 For any works that may have a significant impact on wildlife or flora or fauna, consultations with the Avon Wildlife Trust and the local authority conservation officer will be sought.    If a designated wildlife area is to be set up a faculty will be sought, and a management plan will be drawn up in association with an ecologist.   


8.1 All works within the churchyard not covered by any of the above will be subject to the Chancellor’s Regulations and the guidance given in Reference 1.  

9          RIGHTS OF WAY

9.1 No additional rights of way or wayleaves (public or private and including telephone lines or pipes) will be granted unless approved by the faculty procedure.

9.2 Existing rights of way include a public footpath through the churchyard, telephone lines to/from a pole adjacent to the Orchard Rooms, the electrical supplies to the church and the Orchard Rooms (2 separate supplies), water supplies to the church and Orchard Rooms (2 separate supplies), a gas supply to the church and a sewage drain from the vicarage and Orchard Rooms. Note these sewage outlets join the original outlet from the Old Vicarage inside the churchyard.


10.1 As far as is known there are no ‘Ancient Monuments’ within the churchyard subject to The Ancient Monuments Acts. Should such a monument be discovered no work will be done to it without both a faculty and scheduled monument consent under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 and subsidiary Regulations.   Prior to any action with regard to such a scheduled monument, the advice of the Diocesan Registrar will be sought.


11.1 Dogs must be kept on a lead and should not be allowed to foul the Cemetery grounds.

11.2 Any powers exercisable by the PCC (Parochial Church Council) or Churchwardens under these regulations may be delegated by that Council to a person or persons undertaking day to day maintenance of the churchyard.


Signed           Rev Bruce Goodwin   Vicar


Signed          David Gray   Churchwarden


Signed         Steve Hemmings   Churchwarden


(Last Updated 12 September 2017)


1.            Diocese of Bristol Churchyard Regulations issued by the Chancellor of the Diocese 2017

2.            Garden of Remembrance Faculty Requirements

3.            Trees in churchyards:

4.            Drawing KP1164 dated August 1982

5.            Diocese Of Bristol Application For Permission To Introduce A Memorial Into A Churchyard

Amended 2010


Annex 1

St Anne’s Oldland Churchyard

The red line shows the boundary of the churchyard

St Anne’s Oldland – Garden of Remembrance


Regrettably the churchyard at St Anne’s is full and new graves cannot be accommodated.  We are able, however, to offer a facility for the burial of ashes in a small area designated as a Garden of Remembrance.   This area has been specifically set aside for this purpose and we hope it will be able to be used for a number of years.  We aim to keep the garden in good condition and to enable this we need to keep it essentially as a grassed area surrounded by trees/shrubs with no obstructions. This means that a few simple rules need to be established and followed to ensure the garden remains available, uncluttered and easy to maintain.  If you wish to have ashes buried in the garden we therefore ask that you note and follow these rules.

Guidelines for use of the Garden of Remembrance.

1. Ashes will be buried at a spot chosen by the Incumbent and the turf will be replaced following burial. The ashes will be buried directly in the ground and not in an urn.

2. No memorial plaques, headstones or other objects may be put on the burial spot.

3. Flowers/shrubs etc may not be planted at the burial spot or anywhere in the Garden of Remembrance cut flowers may be placed there, if desired, immediately following the burial.  The flowers should not be put into a hole. When the flowers are found to have died they will be removed. Artificial flowers are not to be placed on either the burial spot or by the memorial wall. Cut flowers or a potted plant may be placed adjacent to the memorial wall but they will be removed when they have withered.

4. The Churchwardens reserve the right to remove any plaques/obstructions/artificial flowers/plants or ornaments placed without express written permission of the incumbent.

5. As a memorial you are invited to have an inscription placed in the “In Memoriam” book which is kept in the church.  Please discuss this with the Incumbent if desired. Also a small brass plaque may be fixed to the adjacent memorial board for those whose ashes are buried in the Garden of Remembrance. See below for rules concerning these plaques.

Memorial Plaques.

A small brass plaque commemorating those whose ashes are buried in the garden may be fixed to the memorial wall at a place to be decided by the Incumbent. The plaque will be provided by the PCC but the person requesting it will meet the costs.

The cost for this will include the fee set by the Church of England authorities for plaques commemorating cremated remains. All plaques will be to the same design but the wording may be chosen by the relatives and must be agreed by the incumbent. The application form and detailed requirements for the plaques may be obtained from the incumbent.

Any plaques fixed to the wall or elsewhere that do not meet the above requirements will be removed and where possible returned to the relatives.

Annex 3

South Gloucestershire Council Tree Preservation Order Plan

















































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